I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

stick n move

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I'm guessing that the Feds basically don't want the river filled in at all, period. Hence their opposition to the all at-grade option. I worked on another road project a few years go which attempted to fill in part of a river, and the Feds absolutely stopped it.

By the way, back in 1963 when the Pike was being designed, the original proposal was to not have a viaduct but to have all the roads on the surface thru the throat area, very much like the current option to do just that. The city of Cambridge stopped it that time, claiming it would have had a bad effect on the Cambridge side of the river.
I get that, thats why Im pointing out that the flood plain excuse is bs. If they dont want to build out over or fill in the river at all, then they should say that. Saying that the at grade option doesnt work because of the flood plain, but then every single option has either sfr or the pike at grade is ridiculous. If the preferred option was sfr and the pike both on viaducts then they have an argument about flooding, but thats not one of the options presented. Saying one thing but meaning something else isnt really a great foundation to start a multi billion dollar possible decade long infrastructure project.

Theyre in a pickle. They dont want to build out into the river to improve the area and theres no way to build everything above the flood plain either. So in the end theyll rebuild as is, part of it will be at grade regardless, and everyone loses.
 
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GIL

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I get that, thats why Im pointing out that the flood plain excuse is bs. If they dont want to build out over or fill in the river at all, then they should say that. Saying that the at grade option doesnt work because of the flood plain, but then every single option has either sfr or the pike at grade is ridiculous. If the preferred option was sfr and the pike both on viaducts then they have an argument about flooding, but thats not one of the options presented. Saying one thing but meaning something else isnt really a great foundation to start a multi billion dollar possible decade long infrastructure project.

Theyre in a pickle. They dont want to build out into the river to improve the area and theres no way to build everything above the flood plain either. So in the end theyll rebuild as is, part of it will be at grade regardless, and everyone loses.
Does the Pike really need to be eight lanes there? Both the Commonwealth and the City have stated they are trying to reduce carbon footprints and invest in transit.
 

mass88

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Does the Pike really need to be eight lanes there? Both the Commonwealth and the City have stated they are trying to reduce carbon footprints and invest in transit.
How much would you trim it? One of the Pike's key functions is to bring people to and from Logan International Airport. Road links to the airport are vital.
 

citylover94

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Well there are only two continuous lanes between the interchange with I-93 and the airport so my impulse would be to reduce the Pike to 6 lanes to provide a little additional capacity until I-90 meets I-93. Also the current configuration drops to 6 lanes past the Copley Interchange already so that seems reasonable especially with the assumption that as commuting increases following the pandemic increases in commuter train frequency can start to help offset the increase in commuters.
 

stefal

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For the sake of hypotheticals let's also toss in the Archboston pipe dream of downsizing Storrow... How does that impact the Pike in terms of lanes and configs?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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For the sake of hypotheticals let's also toss in the Archboston pipe dream of downsizing Storrow... How does that impact the Pike in terms of lanes and configs?
It wouldn't affect anything. The redundant section is Kenmore-Copley, far away from the 'throat' project area. You'd need to retain Embankment Rd. from Public Gardens-Leverett Circle, as that's the MA 28 mainline and serves unique non- induced demand trips...though it probably could be slimmed significantly down to 4 lanes. And you'd need to retain Soldiers Field Road TO Kenmore because Pike exits can't be easily staged around Kenmore/BU, either because of the Worcester Line blocking ramps on the EB side or side streets that simply aren't up-to-task for absorbing full-blown ramp traffic.

The Pike would definitely need to retain all 8 lanes through Downtown in provision for dropping the Storrow midsection, as it would be tasked with absorbing more traffic to the Copley exit in that scenario...so you're holding fast to the state's lane capacity line in the sand there. The traffic engineering on trying to eliminate SFR to Kenmore with add'l exits to BU and the Fens is ugly at best, and if we can't forge a community consensus on something as basic as the 'throat' a buy-in exercise in futility. You'd be adding more WB onramps/offramps in scattered spots Downtown as an added offset...but that's minor, well-studied, and already a recommended add.
 

stefal

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Thanks, my question was more framed toward the idea of downsizing the Pike beyond the throat/to 93, which you ended up answering anyways, I had figured it didn't have an impact on the reconfiguration here...
 

bakgwailo

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So it doesnt really make any sense why the feds would specifically single out the all at grade option as untenable, when it appears that the elevated sfr proposal is by far the worst offender as far as dropping below the flood plain. If anything the elevated sfr proposal should be the one taken off the table and they should have to either find a way to work with the at grade proposal or rebuild as is. Their argument for why the all at grade option doesnt work is a crock of shit, especially when every proposal includes either sfr or the pike at grade.
I vaguely remember someone bringing this up before, but, in this variant, why not just run two of the four Storrow lanes under the pike overpass? Seems like that would free up a ton of space. Looking at the aerials it seems like it should be possible, although maybe need to move/extend the grand junction flyover a bit.
 

MjolnirMan

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The redundant section is Kenmore-Copley, far away from the 'throat' project area. You'd need to retain Embankment Rd. from Public Gardens-Leverett Circle, as that's the MA 28 mainline and serves unique non- induced demand trips...though it probably could be slimmed significantly down to 4 lanes.
A little off-topic, but using that constraint as a starting point, I doodled something I'd love to see:
Before:
before.PNG
After:
after copy.png

Eliminate Storrow between Kenmore and the Public Garden. Shrink Storrow to the East. Reclaim Esplanade parkland, reserve potential Blue Line to Kenmore ROW, implement shoreline flooding barriers and new planting options, give more breathing room for bike and pedestrian pathways. Use the existing Storrow tunnel/underpass to ground the Fielder Footbridge as a wider, safer, at-grade pedestrian crossing. Have the on/offramps rise to grade as they approach Beacon, and extend the tunnel to beyond the Hatch Shell, allowing people to experience concerts/movies/plays without constant traffic/engine/siren noise blaring 60' away. Convert the Mugar onramp into a "Back St." style connector from Beaver Place to Mt. Vernon St.

And of course, further upstream, fit all Storrow lanes under one arch of the Longfellow.
 

stick n move

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I vaguely remember someone bringing this up before, but, in this variant, why not just run two of the four Storrow lanes under the pike overpass? Seems like that would free up a ton of space. Looking at the aerials it seems like it should be possible, although maybe need to move/extend the grand junction flyover a bit.
It only exists in that form for a very short length because the grand junction track(s) pass under there to get to the other side. That slide is very deceiving.
 

cden4

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There really is no reason for the Mass Pike to be 8 lanes through the throat section. It's 6 lanes west of Newton Corner and 6 lanes east of Copley Square (as well as only 6 through lanes through the Allston interchange today), so those extra 2 lanes are really not providing much benefit. This section also lacks shoulders, so providing only 6 lanes through the throat and extending that configuration between Newton Corner and Copley Square would allow for shoulders to be striped within the current cross-section for that entire length except for through the short throat section.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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There really is no reason for the Mass Pike to be 8 lanes through the throat section. It's 6 lanes west of Newton Corner and 6 lanes east of Copley Square (as well as only 6 through lanes through the Allston interchange today), so those extra 2 lanes are really not providing much benefit. This section also lacks shoulders, so providing only 6 lanes through the throat and extending that configuration between Newton Corner and Copley Square would allow for shoulders to be striped within the current cross-section for that entire length except for through the short throat section.
MassDOT's already nixed any 'throat' redesigns that do any lane drops, so couldas/shouldas and platonic-ideal lane configurations are irrelevant for making a final decision. Not to mention extremely beaten-to-death ground in the years of endless debate feeding into this stalemate, since it's been made abundantly clear they aren't listening to that argument no matter how many "Yeah, but's..." factions within the advocacy keep slinging back at them about lane-drops. Talking yet some more about platonic-ideal lane configs isn't going to do anything new or now to resolve the stalemate. Unless you can outline the conditions that successfully lobby the state to change its line-in-sand stance on preserving lane capacity where nothing prior has been successful at changing their mind.

So what successfully lobbies them to change it this time? If we can't enumerate exactly what that is, little else about the capacity discussion is going to matter now where it hasn't before.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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What is their rationale?
Uh...that the capacity is needed. You don't have to agree with them on that point, but that was their decision: that they will not support dropping any Pike lane capacity as part of the fix. Not capacity by lane count, nor capacity by lane width. They've laid that out as a red-line condition...before and after Pollack left. They've heard every lane-drop argument under the sun...for years and years now. It hasn't moved them. They feel no pressure on the capacity front going now into triple-OT on the final 'throat' decision, and moreover if nothing else gives they seem to be completely comfortable defaulting to rebuilding the viaduct in-situ so crunch time isn't giving lane-drops any added favors.

Point to something that's finally going to move them politically/bureaucratically on this, or acknowledge that lane-drop is simply not going to happen as a means of resolving the stalemate. The urgency is simply not there for the state to cut capacity. A more reasoned argument for lane reduction ain't going to be the solve here. No matter how tempting it is to Internet-argue an nth time or degree. That only matters if it can be presented in some new way with some new force of political pressure that has never manifested itself all the dozens/hundreds of prior times capacity was discussed...and, well, good luck trying to find that newfound source of pressure that's never existed before at any point during this saga.
 

millerm277

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I don't understand why we're discussing a lane-drop as "solution". As far as I can see it has absolutely nothing to do with the issue the feds appear to have.

If the issue from the Feds is flood risk on the mainline interstate, the issue is vertical, not horizontal. The number of lanes isn't the issue, the Pike being at-grade is a problem regardless of lane count.

If the math of fitting under the Grand Junction, being at sufficient elevation above the river to satisfy the Feds, and still having appropriate truck vertical clearance doesn't work and none of those things are negotiable/acceptable for the basic goals of the project, then as far as I can see: The Pike's going on a viaduct over the rest of the infrastructure and the width of that viaduct is not really going to produce much in differences.
 

BostonTrainGuy

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How about this:

The Grand Junction crosses Storrow Drive on a bridge and runs north between the Pike and Storrow Drive. Everything is basically at level through "The Throat". It looks like there is enough distance to have the Grand Junction drop down and cross under the Pike before reaching West Station. The Pike could also rise up at this point and cross over the Grand Junction but I think visually it would be better not to do that.


GJ.jpg
 
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bigeman312

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I know nothing of flood mitigation, so forgive me if these are dumb questions:

Money aside, would a properly constructed tunnel be acceptable with respect to flooding concerns? Is there a way to construct this at grade with some walls or other features to alleviate flooding concerns? Would decking over the Pike be a solution? It appears to me like much of I-90 (Comm Ave to Logan Airport) and I-93 (Central Artery Tunnel) are at a lower elevation than what is proposed here, so I'm trying to wrap my head around if/why a viaduct is the only solution with respect to flooding concerns.
 

mass88

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There really is no reason for the Mass Pike to be 8 lanes through the throat section. It's 6 lanes west of Newton Corner and 6 lanes east of Copley Square (as well as only 6 through lanes through the Allston interchange today), so those extra 2 lanes are really not providing much benefit. This section also lacks shoulders, so providing only 6 lanes through the throat and extending that configuration between Newton Corner and Copley Square would allow for shoulders to be striped within the current cross-section for that entire length except for through the short throat section.
The throat section lacks breakdown lanes. Even if MassDOT reduced the number of travel lanes from 8 down to 6, they would ideally include full breakdown lanes which in the end, would not mean all that much of a reduced footprint. Also, it goes from 3 lanes to 4 lanes in this section to allow a full travel lane for those entering the Pike EB from Cambridge street which makes things flow a bit smoother. One of the main issues with highways in the Greater Boston area is the lack of proper acceleration and deceleration lanes.
 

JeffDowntown

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I know nothing of flood mitigation, so forgive me if these are dumb questions:

Money aside, would a properly constructed tunnel be acceptable with respect to flooding concerns? Is there a way to construct this at grade with some walls or other features to alleviate flooding concerns? Would decking over the Pike be a solution? It appears to me like much of I-90 (Comm Ave to Logan Airport) and I-93 (Central Artery Tunnel) are at a lower elevation than what is proposed here, so I'm trying to wrap my head around if/why a viaduct is the only solution with respect to flooding concerns.
I think many of us are pretty convinced the flooding concerns are a smoke screen for allowing the MassDOT to build what they want to build, a viaduct.

Protecting this section of the Pike or SFR is not going to make either road passable in flood situations, as both roads flow into other major flood zones, not addressed by this reconstruction.
 

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